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22 July 2004
Customs seize ancient artifacts from Dominican Republic

A cache of pre-Columbian artifacts from the Dominican Republic has turned up at Miami International Airport (USA), launching an investigation into how the priceless --and illegal - pieces arrived.
     The suspicions of customs officials who seized a shipment of stone objets d'art at Miami International Airport have been confirmed: The cargo contained nearly 200 ''culturally priceless'' pieces from the Dominican Republic's pre-Columbian period. The cache of artifacts was among a shipment of 408 pieces of stone carvings that piqued the curiousity of inspectors when it appeared at the airport in March.
     The agency announced that an internationally renowned archaeological expert, flown in by the U.S. State Department to authenticate the pieces, has confirmed that 194 of the items are actually the work of the Dominican Republic's indigenous population - with at least one piece dating as far back as 2,500 BCE.
     The pieces range in size from just smaller than a fingernail to more than a foot in length, and include arrowheads, platter-sized discs and carvings of human and animal forms.

Source: Miami Herald, The State.com (21 July 2004)

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